The second album by The KLF

After recording this album, they burnt a million fucking quid.

I'm a sucker for the KLF because they're so delightfully fraudulent. They're taking the piss out of you, the recording industry, and capitalism as we know it. By 1988 they were unstoppable, releasing a mind-gratingly annoying pop single under the moniker the Time Lords. It was wholly structured around the hooligan chanted chorus:

Dr. Who! Yay! Dr. Who!
Dr. Who! Yay! Dr. Who!
Dr. Who! Yay! Dr. Who!
Like much of their oeuvre it seemed to lampoon the entire late 80s rave genre and yet crossover seamlessly into mass cultural consciousness. Needless to say, this lead the KLF to have an extremely mixed and occasionally dodgy output - and by far the best collection of this is their album The White Room, released in 1991.

The three monster hits

Three tracks loom large in the public psyche from The White Room, namely What Time is Love?, 3 A.M. Eternal, and Last Train to Trancentral. I can no longer comment authoritatively on the opening few seconds of What Time is Love? as I put cue burns in the album simply by playing it too often or maybe just by dropping the needle carelessly. Thankfully it now skips the first few seconds of swooshing wind sounds, and instead drops in at the MC5 sample "Right now it's time to...KICK OUT THE JAMS, MOTHERFUCKERS!!". Then What Time is Love? is all big beats, urgent synth grooves, sirens, and incredibly dodgy rap vocals from Ricardo Lyte. The biggest hit was however track 2, 3AM Eternal. The album version is pure stadium house recorded live at the SSL, replete with euphoric crowd sounds and Illuminatus references. I'd favor it all the more if it was the same version they played at the Brit Awards, shortly after releasing the album.

A small aside

At the Brit Awards, the KLF arrived in full combat gear, Bill Drummond wearing a kilt, and sporting a few of Mikhail Kalashnikov's finest. They proceeded to play a thrash metal version of 3AM Eternal, fired rounds of blanks into the stunned crowd, and then departed leaving a dead sheep outside the theatre with a note pinned on it.

The note read "I died for you"

They had planned to throw buckets of blood into the crowd, but had received a lukewarm response from their vegan cohorts. The KLF didn't hang around to pick up their award for Best British Group, and instead sent a motorcycle courier.

The third standout hit should be Justified and Ancient. Whilst the single version featured songstress Tammy Wynette and the excellent b-side Mu-Mu Land, the album version lacks her twanging country tones. Instead a miscellaneous soul brother fills her place, and the version has a more laid back, spacey feel. The unstoppable Last Train to Trancentral rounds off the huge hits from the album, packed full of the thumping bass and a fondness for wacky mysticism.

The rest of the album

Is the rest of the album just plain silly? Does the pope shit in the woods?. I'd like to say that it wasn't full of cheesy filler tracks, but that would be lies, lies, treachery, deceit, and more lies. Make It Rain and Build a Fire are mournful affairs, with diva vocals on the former and an odd Glaswegian voice over on the latter. They even throw some reggae into the mix with No More Tears. I imagine that this is what calypso parties in Glasgow sound like. The aforementioned lyrics for the title track do it justice.

Yet the filler doesn't leave a bad taste in my mouth. The White Room as a whole proves an important point for the KLF. Their much vaunted pamphlet, The Manual, really does work. Formulaic electronic music is the way of the future, and this album broke the way for the crossover of music generally associated with a minor rave subculture into the homes of millions. It is only a small step from The White Room to the early work of Fatboy Slim or the Chemical Brothers

There's about 40 different versions of The White Room available. There's also rumours of a feature length film. For more info see

  The KLF: The White Room
  4 March,1991 album
  LP:	1991 UK (KLF Communications; JAMS LP6)

          4:37	What Time Is Love (lp mix)
          4:06	Make It Rain
          3:14	3AM Eternal (live at the s.s.l.)
          1:42	Church Of The KLF
          6:04	Last Train To Trancentral (lp mix)
          4:39	Build A Fire
          5:14	The White Room
          9:24	No More Tears
          4:43	Justified And Ancient

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